"The Peak District equivalent of the Wasdale" claimed one runner after finishing the 1989 Holme Moss race. I'm not sure I'd go as far as this, since Andy Harmer's LONG Margery Hill race should take this title. Nevertheless, the Holme Moss race is tough.
The start from Brown Hill reservoir is, I must admit, a bit uninspiring with gently rising tracks and road(!). This soon changes and, after a stretch of woodland, there is a plunging descentinto Ramsden Clough. This is followed by an equally steep climb out, a long contour around to Holme Moss and another sharp descent and ascent to Todleyshaw Moss (could be difficult in bad weather). After the previous terrain, the run into Crowden is relaxing though the main problem this year was the intense heat (the last time I took my vest off was Sierre Zinal in 19861). By Crowden I'd caught Don Booth and felt quite encouraged.
I was soon discouraged as Don pulled away on the next climb to Boreholme Moss. Even in good weather the details of the descent from here are not obvious and runners disperse in various directions to take one of three or four routes up to the next checkpoint on Laddow Rocks. I glimpsed Don going up Crowden Great Brook with Martin Sedden (Holmfirth) and a couple of other yellow vested runners, a well recc'ed Holmfirth route, I thought. By the time I was underneath Laddow Rocks and scrambling up the crags, I realised my line wasn't right. This was confirmed by Don, Martin and, later, by Bill Buckley (Glossopdale) who rushed by on the Laddow path above me after being a good few places behind me. Apparently, the better route is to double back from Boreholme and join the main track to Laddow rather than taking the direct(ish) route.
The next section up to Black Hill was a once in a Preston Guild experience. I crossed Black Hill summit without getting my feet wetl By this time, Don had disappeared and Bill had also pulled away. On the long drag from Black Hill to Holme Moss I did manage to catch Bill and the four of us raced (it felt like that to mel) down the steep valley side though route finding was a bit loose. Bill's significant lead disappeared when he took a wrong turning and had to double back giving me another chance. After a mile of track and field we finally came to the reservoir and a short desperate little climb to the finish.
It's a good race though possibly slightly artificial but very much in the league of hard and long Peak District fell races.
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